A guide to Shakespeare’s plays

Hadley Hudson, Staff Reporter

William Shakespeare is one of the most frequently read authors for school, and many students have read Shakespeare’s plays for school and for pleasure. Although these stories are read by many, some of his best works are unknown to the public. Here is some information about some of his plays for anyone about to read them.


Richard III

Richard III is the second longest Shakespeare play written, and it is one of his historical works. It portrays the Machiavellian rise to power by King Richard III, a greedy and power-hungry king of England. Although it is purely historical, the dramatics are still shown and the story is still powerful. The story is technically a tragedy, in the theme of the theatre at the time. Richard III is one of the most performed Shakespeare plays, but it is relatively unknown to students. Shakespeare’s writing is widely meaningful in every word, and although the complex relationships of the play can be confusing, the overall message of the play is impactful.



Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, about the Prince of Denmark and the tragedy surrounding him. The drama of the story is shown through Hamlet’s long soliloquies and a lot of murder/death. It is a very depressing play. Even though it is Shakespeare’s longest play, there is action throughout the entire work and it is extremely exciting.


Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is read by many high school students, and at VHS the play is acted out by each freshman class informally. Although there needs to be some analyzing and other efforts of understanding the text besides just reading it (like any other Shakespeare play), the story is very self explanatory because everyone knows the plot. One tip that is very important and must be restated is that people need to research beyond the text, especially for school. All of the test questions and other graded things will be from the extended analysis, not just reading it.